Given Name: Ernest Bert Ashworth

Instruments: Vocals, Songwriter, Guitar

Date of Birth: December 15, 1928
Place of Birth: Huntsville, Alabama

2008 Inductee Alabama Music Hall of Fame

earnest ashworthHuntsville, Alabama native Ernie Ashworth through determination, ambition and hard work was able to realize his dream of one day playing on the Grand Ole Opry.

In the early fifties he began singing with a band in Nashville. Ernie had been writing songs for a good while and was soon pitching them to the music publishing companies. He had his songs recorded by some of the top country artists including Carl Smith, Little Jimmy Dickens, Johnny Horton, Wilma Lee Cooper and others. During this time he met Wesley Rose who took Ernie under his wing and signed him as an exclusive writer for Acuff-Rose Publishing Company and recorded him on MGM. But recording success was to evade him at this time.

In 1957 Ernie returned to Alabama for several years and started work at the Redstone Arsenal. In 1960 he was contacted again by Wesley Rose to do another record, this time with Decca Records.

His first Decca record, "Each Moment", went into the top 10 national charts. His next record, "You Can't Pick A Rose In December", was another top 10. He had two other top 20 records for Decca before changing to Hickory records, a label owned by Acuff-Rose. His string of top 10 records continued including "Everybody But Me" and "I Take The Chance". In 1963 came the smash hit he had been waiting for, "Talk Back Trembling Lips". This one went to #1 and stayed on the national charts for 42 weeks. It did quite well in the pop charts also. It was one of the nations first crossover records.

In March of 1964 Ernie saw his lifelong dream come true when he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. After this came more top 10 records, "A Week In The Country", "I Love To Dance With Annie", "The D.J. Cried", "At Ease Heart" and more. From 1960 to 1970 every record recorded by Ernie hit the national charts. Twelve of these were top 10.

He was Inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Artist Biography by James Manheim

Singer/songwriter and guitarist Ernie Ashworth listened to the Grand Ole Opry as a youth in his native Huntsville, AL, and he began writing songs even before taking up the guitar. By 1948 he was playing in a band called the Tunetwisters and appearing on Huntsville radio station WBHP. Making the move to Nashville the following year, Ashworth earned a living as an early member of that city's fabled community of songwriters and performed on radio stations WLAC and WSIX. He became a staff writer for the Acuff-Rose publishing house, composing songs for such performers as Little Jimmy Dickens and Carl Smith and even crossing over to the pop sphere when he placed "I Wish" with rock & roll crooner Paul Anka. In 1955, Wesley Rose greased the wheels for Ashworth's signing to the MGM label as Billy Worth, but the six singles he cut for the label went nowhere on the charts. In 1957, Ashworth returned to Alabama and took a job at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal missile plant.

Meanwhile, Rose remained determined to further Ashworth's music career and managed to get him signed to Decca in 1960. Now billed as Ernest Ashworth, he hit the Top Five with his first Decca single, "Each Moment (Spent With You)." That same year he scored a Top Ten hit with "You Can't Pick a Rose in December." In 1962, he signed with the Acuff-Rose-owned Hickory label and again hit the Top Five with "Everybody but Me." A year later, he had his only number one hit with the John D. Loudermilk-penned "Talk Back Trembling Lips." That song was tailor-made for Ashworth's vulnerable tenor voice, influenced by Anka and by Buddy Holly but with a more distinctively country reediness; it propelled him to Most Promising Male Artist awards from Billboard and Cashbox magazines and to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964. With further successes, such as the self-penned "I Love to Dance With Annie," Ashworth was a consistent hitmaker up to the release of 1970's "The Look of Goodbye." After four singles on the independent O'Brien label flopped, he retired to his farm in Lewisburg, TN, continuing to appear regularly on the Opry and occasionally touring the country. In 1989 he became the owner of Ardmore, TN, radio station WSLV, and his occasional recording releases in the 1990s found favor among tradition-minded European country listeners.


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